SETP Vol. 1 Chapter 20
Chapter 20 – Trash
Exactly one week had passed since then.
We departed from Diestburg and, after three days of travel, we reached the kingdom of water, Rinchelle.
Grerial laughed, saying that we arrived much earlier than predicted, then told me that the audience with King Rinchelle was scheduled for three days later, so we could act independently until then. Bringing us to the present.
“….was that really alright, Your Highness?”
“Don’t call me that here, you’ll make us stand out.”
While cutting portions of the food served to us with a fork and knife, I half glared at Feli.
It was exactly lunch time. After Grerial left us, my first order of business was to go to the closest restaurant. I noticed Feli looking at my waist, where my “Spada” was hanging.
“I should say Lord Fay, then.”
“Better than ‘Your Highness’, I guess. Fine then.”
I chewed on the meat I cut in small dices, swallowed it, then spoke.
“What did you mean with ‘was that alright’?”
“About your sword. You hid it so much before, so why— ”
I loudly interrupted Feli’s puzzled question.
“This situation is too weird, no matter how you look at it.”
There were too many things that stuck out to me.
“We were just invited to a party, but we’ll have knights to escort us? And 100 of them too?”
Usually it would be 30 at most.
Rinchelle had good relations with Diestburg, its first princess would marry the prince next in line for the throne and become crown princess; considering that they were just heading to the next country over, such a large escort was nothing short of insulting.
I, however, knew that as we had no choice but to go, this was inevitable. Grerial said that the reason I was present too; even if that was the real reason, however, our escort was still too large.
“I assume that brother Grerial and the others viewed the current Rinchelle as dangerous from the start. I fail to see why he would ask me to accompany him to such a dangerous place though.”
”This leads me to the conclusion that someone dragged me here on purpose. Who would be the culprit then, head maid?”
Once again I brought the diced meat to my mouth.
A silence that clearly expressed the answer to my question.
“I’m not accusing you. I know very well how loyal you are. You probably see me as someone capable of defeating a Hero. So you brought me here in order to protect Grerial.”
For the sake of the kingdom, she would care little what happened to her name and honor and would never hesitate to use even the dirtiest methods. That’s the kind of person Feli von Yugstine was.
“Grerial probably said that, if the circumstances were different, he would have liked to bring me along, right? And the head maid thought it was the perfect chance and convinced him to take me here.”
“…you do not suspect me? I could have told him about what happened in Afillis.”
“No, I don’t. I don’t think that you would break a promise you made yourself, at least. If my father interrogated you about it things would be different, I guess.”
I laughed, thinking that something like that was impossible.
My father always had a stern look on his face, but he was a pacifist at heart. I couldn’t believe he would ever interrogate a loyal vassal like Feli.
On the contrary, he would probably interpret Feli’s silence as meaning that there was a good reason not to speak.
I continued eating, waiting for Feli to find the right timing to divulge what she was struggling to reveal.
“….yes, that’s right. There are a few differences, but it’s mostly as you said, Lord Fay.”
Some time ago, Feli said that she thought of me as someone who did not lose himself in self-preservation and could remain composed.
She probably knew that her plotting would be discovered sooner or later.
She knew it, but dragged me out all the same, using Grerial’s power as medium.
“I am prepared to be struck down for what I did, of course. As I made this choice while knowing about your resolve, Lord Fay.”
The resolve of never holding a sword, that I did not break for 14 years.
What did it mean for me to break it?
Feli, who always stood close to me, should know.
She had made a misunderstanding, however.
“I said that I’m not accusing you. The reason why I don’t wield my sword is just egoism, in the end.”
I did say that I do not want to wield the sword.
There was no lie in that.
However, in a comparison between someone important and my ego, I would never ever prioritize the latter.
“If my personal feelings got in the way and I lost someone important, I would wish I could die *again*. Wielding a sword to protect others is not something to despise anyway.”
Even if it led to the same results.
Even if wielding a sword brought me closer to the past me.
Even if it brought me to destruction again.
I didn’t want to lose anyone or to feel solitude ever again.
I laughed to hide the pained scream in my heart.
“Besides, if Grerial becomes the next king I will be able to dedicate myself exclusively to a life of loafing around. Brother is a very important person. I cannot afford to lose him.”
“Oh, you’re such a…”
“The ever-infamous ‘Trash Prince’. That’s all I am, no more, no less.”
So don’t even try to beautify me, I implied.
”The sin of disrupting my vacation is a grave one though.”
The promise made by father said that as my achievements in Afillis were regarded highly, my vacation would continue a bit longer.
Of course, it was just a vocal promise and there were no absolutes in it. I wasn’t sure how well father remembered it either.
Even so, disrupting my peacefully slothful vacation was a grave sin.
I stopped eating and spoke.
“You are not allowed to die.”
I spoke while looking straight in Feli’s eyes.
“As long as I can wield my sword, I will protect brother Grerial and you too, head maid. So you are not allowed to get yourself killed.”
Feli looked at me, utter surprise in her eyes.
“….do you have something to say?”
“No, but…you surely have changed.”
“Yes, Lord Fay, you did.”
That’s the kind of person I always was.
I don’t think anything changed in me.
“You would have sought a way to bring the people important to you back to the country before, probably.”
You would have run away, using the infamous title of “Trash Prince”.
Feli meant that I would have never considered the option of taking up the sword.
Now that I recall, I did think such things while in Afillis. That I would have been able to run away with Feli.
“I think the current Lord Fay is kind of nice though.”
Feli smiled happily.
Just like she was smiling at Grerial.
“I find people who can fight for the sake of others to be very cool.”
That makes it sound like she—
I couldn’t listen anymore and laughed.
“Give me a break.”
I put down the knife and fork on the plate with a clatter.
“Don’t make me say it so many times. I’m the ‘Trash Prince’, nothing more, nothing less.”
I called myself trash more than anyone else did, and I had a reason to do so.
It was something like self-suggestion.
When I wielded a sword, my emotions always surfaced.
Thus I laughed, in order to hide them.
“When I wield a sword, not being treated like ‘trash’ is actually a problem for me.”
Become a demon.
Sink among the beasts.
The mentor who raised me used to say this often.
The more you think you are a good person, the duller your blade will be. So thinking of yourself as a beast is just right, he said.
And that was the truth.
A good conscience dulls the blade.
So whenever I wielded a sword, not being treated like “trash” was actually a problem.
“No one is less worthy than me of being called ‘cool’, honestly.”
I was just a “trash prince”.
Since I wielded the sword to kill, I became one with the beasts.
In the world I lived in my previous life, no one clung to metaphysical existences or even believed in them.
Their own body was the only thing they could rely on.
Thus words directed at someone in need of salvation did not fit me at all.
Somewhere in my heart, I was seeking to be saved.
I was aware of that. Even so, I would probably say that I sought no such thing.
“Take your time and eat. I’m going out first.”
I took a few silver coins out of my pocket, put them on the table and stood up.
I tapped my “Spada”, signaling that I needed no escort, and walked away.
After leaving the restaurant, I made sure Feli did not come with me and mumbled.
“Don’t use words like that with me, damnit.”
I knew the reason why my mentor and the others called me weak.
I couldn’t handle kind words.
Mephia said it too.
She said that I was a kind person.
I really wish they would stop.
“My sword is going to get dull…”
I looked at the sky, a dull grey, as if reflecting my heart.
“Why do they go and beautify people as they damn please…”
I closed my eyes and first imagined swinging a sword.
I imagined myself plastering a smile on my lips, as my mentor taught me, as I slew people.
I was looking at my past.
At something I might experience again.
At something I was willfully heading towards again.
“I’m a ‘Trash Prince’ through and through. That’s never going to change.”
—isn’t that right?
I asked the question while holding the “Spada” at my waist.
There was no response.